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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

Finished the third week of my internship at Vanderbilt Medical Center and it’s been awesome so far! This has been such a huge change from doing research for the past 2 summers, mostly because there has been very little real work, since I’ve been just doing shadowing. But it’s been very valuable experience and I’ve gotten to see a lot of cool stuff!

So I continued shadowing in Nephrology at the Vanderbilt Hospital, and also at the Veteran Affairs Hospital next door. I watched a kidney biopsy, shadowed some more in Neurology consult, and sat in on a bunch of meetings. I also started shadowing in psychiatry consults, where you see a lot of angry people, depressed people, crazy people, etc. So that’s been fun.

then this past Wednesday, I shadowed Dr. Susan Langone, the wife of the Dr. Langone at Vanderbilt. She works as a pediatrician in private practice, it was a very different experience. I was there for the clinic visits of a 2-month-old, a 6-month-old, a 2-year-old, a 5-year-old, and a 10-year old – a good range! Overall the environment is just a lot happier and relaxed and fun, and there aren’t any really serious illnesses since it’s an outpatient clinic. And Dr. Langone was hopping around and being pretty active in trying to assess the kids’ physical development and such. And the kids were all so cute!

In more exciting news, I observed a couple of kidney transplants in the OR! The first one was such a strange and surreal experience. First of all, I was shocked at myself for being so totally okay and non-reactive during the surgery (especially considering my fellow intern Ian chickened out on it that morning). Maybe I’ve got what it takes to be a surgeon, ha. Secondly, it’s still so incredible to me that modern medicine has advanced to the point where we can take an organ from one human being (dead or alive) and put it into another. As I stared at the kidney sitting in a bucket of ice, it was odd to imagine it being inside someone’s body just minutes ago, someone who was probably still on an operating table just next door. And it was even stranger to see the surgeon staple the wound close on the recipient’s abdomen, and seeing her lying there, with her blood already flowing through a new kidney. And what made it even more surreal was that I saw the patient in person in her pre-op clinic visit, as well as after her transplant in the hospital. And on top of everything else, it was actually the much publicized kidney-found-via-celebrity-Tweet transplant… Anyway… yes, I’m still in awe at the whole thing.

The second one I observed was this week, and I got to see some of the nephrectomy surgery (it was all laparoscopic) for removing the kidney from the donor as well. And I actually got to scrub in for the transplant, so I was right up there at the operating table with the surgeon and his assistants! It was so cool seeing everything up close, and I even got to touch the kidney and feel the pulse in the iliac artery and hold stuff for the surgeon. Hoping to see more different surgeries soon!

I also began shadowing a dentist, Dr. Rezk, at the dental clinic at Vanderbilt last week. It has been going super over there as well; Dr. Rezk and her team are some of the friendliest people ever. She told me that she was reluctant at first to take me on, since she’s had some not so great experiences with students shadowing her before (how do you even be bad at shadowing someone? You don’t even do anything!). But then she said that since I was a girl and I was Asian (she’s Asian too, it’s just that her husband’s Egyptian) she thought she’d give me a chance, and she tole me after the first day that I was a great shadower (again, how can you possibly be bad?). Anyway, so I’ve been really enjoying shadowing her, she’s great at what she does, and she’s so, so friendly to her patients, and she genuinely seems to enjoy her job. And she’s been great about telling me what it’s like to work as a dentist and actually really recommended it for me. I’m really glad that I found her and that she let me shadow her, and it’s been making me consider dentistry more and more seriously. We’ll see how that goes for the rest of the summer!


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